Channel 5 has commissioned a new adaptation of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small from Playground.

The commission is for an initial series of six episodes plus a Christmas special. MASTERPIECE on PBS in the US will co-produce and it will be distributed by all3media international. The production will also receive funding and support from Screen Yorkshire.

The series will shoot on location in Yorkshire, England, as 2020 sees the 50th anniversary of the original publication of the books.

The production, commissioned by Digital Channel Controller Seb Cardwell, will be produced by Richard Burrell (New Tricks, Silent Witness); Executive Producers are Colin Callender, and Melissa Gallant for Playground, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE. MASTERPIECE on PBS is presented by WGBH Boston. Ben Vanstone (The Last Kingdom) is lead writer and Executive Producer and Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) is lead director.

Sebastian Cardwell, Channel 5 said:  “James Herriot has a special place in the heart of the public and the commission of this iconic drama series, against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, is set to bring joy to a new army of TV viewers. The original books affectionately captured a unique slice of British life; in challenging times, we hope the charming and heart-warming stories of community and compassion will resonate with new audiences.”

“Revisiting James Herriot’s beloved stories is an immense privilege and we are honoured that Alf Wight’s [James Herriot is Wight’s pen name] family have entrusted us with his legacy. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.” says Colin Callender, Executive Producer and CEO of Playground. “At a time when the country feels more divided than ever, Herriot’s glorious books remind us how to connect and belong again. The series will embrace the fun and the nostalgia of revisiting the England of the past, while celebrating Herriot’s values that, despite all our current upheaval, still underpin British life today.”

“When it originally aired on public broadcasting, ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ captured the hearts of millions of television viewers,” says Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer of MASTERPIECE. “We promise that the new series will have all the wit, warmth, and quirky charm of the original – and of course, lots of irresistible animals.”

Executive Producer Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire, says: “People all over the world know Yorkshire through James Herriot and ‘All Creatures Great And Small’ and we are thrilled to see the warmth, the down to earth wit and the generosity of spirit that infuse his stories brought back to the screen for a new generation.’’

Staff Reporter

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